Categories: NewsPublished On: March 21st, 2024

This article originally appeared in the Hobbs News-Sun

By TJ Parks, Chief Executive Officer, JF Maddox Foundation

In downtown Waco, Texas, silos have been made famous by Joanna Gaines as a shopping market featuring home goods and coffee shops, but traditionally silos are used simply for storage and to keep items separated.  Silos are great for keeping things segregated because that is its purpose, except in Waco where people have come together using the giant structures as a center point for community gathering, commerce, and tourism.  It is the kind of vision the JF Maddox Foundation is inspired by when we talk about our own downtown revitalization. Those that used the Magnolia Silos as the backdrop to the economic activity in Waco knew they weren’t focusing on the silos original intent to separate goods, but instead used them as a catalyst to solve a complicated challenge for their community.  The revitalization of downtown Hobbs is no different. It is a complex problem that requires our entire community to be involved, so we can work toward a long-term, positive solution.

The Foundation is inspired to revitalize downtown Hobbs, so it becomes more vibrant with additional retail stores, restaurants, events and possibly housing.  But we knew we couldn’t do it alone. The Foundation has brought on PLAND Collaborative to help create a vision of what the community sees as a want and need for a more robust lifestyle in the downtown area of Broadway between Linam and Fowler Streets. Already, PLAND interviewed more than 400 Hobbs residents to understand what the community’s vision was for this area.  The interviews determined that people want to see coffee shops, restaurants, family-friendly events, retail, improved safety (lighting), artwork, and updated landscaping. They want a centralized location to make memories and find unique opportunities without having to travel to neighboring communities.

Inspired by the feedback we received in our interviews, the Foundation has recently green-lit a five-year plan to enhance downtown and develop an area of town that will not only attract local community persons but be a vehicle to drive economic vitality and draw from surrounding towns.

Cosmetic changes will have a short-term effect, but we are committed to working long-term to make dramatic changes that will truly have an impact on our community for generations to come. Although aesthetic changes will take place, we will hold onto the values that make our community great by working together, showing up to make a difference, and believing in the people who make our community great. The Foundation will be a champion for downtown, after all it is where our staff comes to work every day, and we believe that South Hobbs (downtown) is worth the time, effort and money required to transform the area.

In every project, our goal has always been to bring people together; to inspire big ideas that we can be proud of, and downtown is no different.  With our support, and the engagement of community members, we will build a downtown community that we can all be proud to call home.

TJ Parks is the CEO of the JF Maddox Foundation, a family foundation in Lea County, New Mexico.  Alongside its partners, the foundation invests in education, social services, and community development for a greater quality of life for Lea County residents.